CNBC has breathlessly reported that the Republican candidates who have participated in this year’s three GOP presidential debates have spoken at the ninth-grade level or below according to the Flesch-Kincaid readability test.
The cable network announced its findings on Thursday, the day it was widely criticized for bungling this week’s debate.
CNBC does not appear to have subjected its own moderators to the Flesch-Kincaid readability test.
However, The Daily Caller did.
The results show that the words (and words and words) uttered by CNBC’s small battalion of moderators averaged a fifth-grade vocabulary level — just barely.
Like CNBC, TheDC used the Flesch-Kincaid readability test for its analysis. (You may remember using the Flesch-Kincaid test to evaluate your term papers in older versions of Microsoft Word. The tool is still available in newer versions, apparently, but buried deep.)
The Flesch-Kincaid test analyzed the language patterns of CNBC’s moderators and established that they speak like someone at a grade of level of 5.2. That is the equivalent of someone who is about 20 percent through an American fifth grade class.
CNBC’s moderators — including fancypants Harvard journalism fellow John Harwood — can take intellectual solace in the fact that the flair for language they demonstrated in talking over the candidates and over each other was equal to the language patterns of Donald Trump.
Trump also scored a 5.2.
The rest of the GOP candidates came out between 6.9 and 9.1 on the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale. Thus, they showed language skills between two and four grade levels higher than those exhibited by CNBC’s moderators.
The Flesch-Kincaid readability scale rates any set of written words by measuring sentence length and word length.
The story you are reading right now scores a 9.1 on the Flesch-Kincaid scale — equal to Harvard Law grad Cruz’s GOP debate performance and academic light years ahead of the speech patterns of CNBC’s moderators.